Captain of Aircraft Carrier with Growing Coronavirus Outbreak Pleads for Help from Navy

My father was a Radioman for the U S Navy during Wordl War II. “Radioman (RM) was a rating for United States Navy and United States Coast Guard enlisted personnel, specializing in communications technology.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radioman) This was a time when “communications” were done using “Morse code is a method used in telecommunication to encode text characters as standardized sequences of two different signal durations, called dots and dashes or dits and dahs. Morse code is named for Samuel Morse, an inventor of the telegraph.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morse_code) After the war my father became what was called a “ham,” short for radio operator. It was his avocation allowing him to keep in touch with other former Radiomen, and other “hams.” “Amateur radio, also known as ham radio, is the use of radio frequency spectrum for purposes of non-commercial exchange of messages, wireless experimentation, self-training, private recreation, radiosport, contesting, and emergency communication. The term “amateur” is used to specify “a duly authorised person interested in radioelectric practice with a purely personal aim and without pecuniary interest;”[1] (either direct monetary or other similar reward) and to differentiate it from commercial broadcasting, public safety (such as police and fire), or professional two-way radio services (such as maritime, aviation, taxis, etc.).” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amateur_radio)

My father would take me with him to something called a “Hamfest.” What I recall from those days was how nice to me were the other “hams.” He wanted me to get into ham radio and was disappointed when I showed little interest. Nevertheless, I listened, and learned. Three decades later I brought Gary Southerland, a Viet Nam vet and a chess playing “ham” to visit my father. They went down below to the radio room while I visited with my Mother. They were there for hours, with Gary eating lunch with my folks. On the way back to Gary’s apartment we talked about ham radio. Astounded at what I knew, Gary blurted, “You could be a HAM!” I disabused him of the notion by informing him I did not do Morse code.

Gene Nix is, among other things, Treasurer of the South Carolina Chess Association. Gene was nothing less than wonderful to me during my time in Greenville some time ago. Gene is also a retired Naval Officer, and a gentleman. Dean Creech lives in Greenville and found his way to Chess late in life. Before things took a drastic change for the worse Dean was playing, and directing tournaments in Greenville after retiring. Mr. Creech is also a Naval Officer.

Decades ago I met a young man through budding Doctor Frank Blaydes when he was attending classes at Georgia Tech. Jim R. was in Naval ROTC. When learning of my passion for the poetry for Robert Service, Jim R. purchased a large book containing three volumes of Service verse. After reading it Jim inscribed the book and gave it to me as a gift. He did this because, unlike most gamblers, I freely shared my approach to playing Backgammon. I did this because I was also a Chess player, and Chess players often shared their knowledge simply for the love of the game. Gamblers have an expression, “You’ve gotta pay to play.” For sharing with the younger fellows I was called “God.” Jim R. was chosen for submarine service. Many sailors want to become a part of the Submarine corp but few are chosen. Jim R. went into another world and I never saw him again. Frank became an MD. To be more specific, he was a GP, or General practitioner. In the medical profession, a general practitioner (GP) is a medical doctor who treats acute and chronic illnesses and provides preventive care and health education to patients. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/General_practitioner) A GP is more commonly called a “Family Doctor.” This was at a time when most students were going into some kind of specialized care, which paid much more than a GP. Frank was from Hahira, Georgia, which is located in Southern Georgia. In order to cover more territory, because of the lack of Doctors in that part of our state, Frank learned to fly. While watching the news one evening I learned of the death of Frank Blaydes, MD, when his plane hit a tower in the fog. Needless to say, I was devastated.

These people put their lives on the line every day in service to our country. Some, like Jerry Waller, from my high school, was the battalion commander of three high school ROTC’s. Each year only one cadet is chosen to lead all three schools. He wanted to like General George Patton. Jerry died in Viet Nam and his name is the only one I know on the Viet Nam wall. I went to Central City Park when the mobile Viet Nam wall was there to view his name.

One of the boys who lived across the street from me, Tommy Twaites, joined the Army as Viet Nam was beginning. He died when loading a ship when something gave way and a couple of tons of material landed on him. Although this was during ‘Nam Tommy is not on the Viet Nam wall because he was stateside. The material was headed for Viet Nam.

I practically lived at a Boys Club while growing up. One of the adults working there was a young fellow on scholarship while attending Georgia Tech, a position I later earned. The first time we met he was reading a Model Railroad magazine. When asked if I could look at it, he replied, “You know something about model trains?” I told him about the gentleman who had lived next door to us who had a “layout” in his attic. I was the only boy in the neighborhood ever allowed in his “train room.” We bonded right then and there. I regret age has taken a tole and I can no longer recall his name, but I do know that he went to ‘Nam, and did not return.

These people I have known offered, and sometimes gave, their lives for this country. I dedicate this post to each and every one mentioned, and must include my friend, former Chess Champion of California, Dennis Fritzinger, who served in ‘Nam.

I urge you to read the following article. Unfortunately, the Captain is not the only one pleading for help which has not been forthcoming. In addition, if you deem it worthy, please forward it to someone you know, keeping in mind I do not, and have never earned one cent while writing this blog.

Exclusive: Captain of aircraft carrier with growing coronavirus outbreak pleads for help from Navy

Matthias Gafni and Joe Garofoli March 31, 2020 Updated: March 31, 2020 4 p.m.

https://s.hdnux.com/photos/01/11/31/23/19240177/5/gallery_xlarge.jpg

“The captain of a nuclear aircraft carrier with more than 100 sailors infected with the coronavirus pleaded Monday with U.S. Navy officials for resources to allow isolation of his entire crew and avoid possible deaths in a situation he described as quickly deteriorating.

The unusual plea from Capt. Brett Crozier, a Santa Rosa native, came in a letter obtained exclusively by The Chronicle and confirmed by a senior officer on board the aircraft carrier Theodore Roosevelt, which has been docked in Guam following a COVID-19 outbreak among the crew of more than 4,000 less than a week ago.

“This will require a political solution but it is the right thing to do,” Crozier wrote. “We are not at war. Sailors do not need to die. If we do not act now, we are failing to properly take care of our most trusted asset — our Sailors.”

https://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/Exclusive-Captain-of-aircraft-carrier-with-15167883.php

USS Theodore Roosevelt and USS America Combat Force

America’s Shamefully Slow Coronavirus Testing Threatens All of US!

The Vox guide to Covid-19 coronavirus

America’s shamefully slow coronavirus testing threatens all of us

The US lags just about every developed country on testing for Covid-19 disease.

By Brian Resnick and Dylan Scott
Updated Mar 12, 2020, 11:25am EDT

In late February, Julie Eaker, a physician’s assistant and supervisor at a small, rural, tribal community health clinic in Siskiyou County, California, had a patient who had a possible exposure to Covid-19. It wasn’t direct: They had been exposed to a person, and that person had been in direct contact with a confirmed Covid-19 case. Eaker’s patient was developing an upper respiratory infection too, and she wanted to ease their peace of mind — and protect the community — by getting them tested for Covid-19.

To this day, the patient still hasn’t been tested for the illness. And it’s not because Eaker didn’t try. The story she describes is Kafkaesque.

Read the rest of the story @ https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2020/3/12/21175034/coronavirus-covid-19-testing-usa

Coronavirus Rumors and Chaos in Alabama Point to Big Problems

Coronavirus rumors and chaos in Alabama point to big problems as U.S. seeks to contain virus

Todd C. Frankel, The Washington Post Published 12:35 pm EST, Sunday, March 1, 2020

ANNISTON, Ala. – Not long before local leaders decided, in the words of one of them, that federal health officials “didn’t know what they were doing” with their plan to quarantine novel coronavirus patients in town, a doctor here set out in a biohazard suit to stage a one-man protest along the highway with a sign. “The virus has arrived. Are you ready?” it asked.

The town didn’t think it was. Residents already were unnerved by strange stories posted on Facebook and shared via text messages about helicopters secretly flying in sick patients, that the virus was grown in a Chinese lab, that someone – either the media or the government – was lying to them about what was really going on.

The quarantine plan hastily hatched by the federal Department of Health and Human Services was soon scrapped by President Donald Trump, who faced intense pushback from Alabama’s congressional delegation, led by Republican Rep. Mike Rogers. Americans evacuated after falling ill aboard the Diamond Princess cruise ship in Japan would not be coming to Anniston, a town of 22,000 people in north-central Alabama, after all. They would remain in the same Texas and California sites where they were taken after leaving the cruise ship.

What happened here over the past week illustrates how poor planning by federal health officials and a rumor mill fueled by social media, polarized politics and a lack of clear communication can undermine public confidence in the response to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease named covid-19. The rapidly spreading virus has rattled economies worldwide in recent weeks and caused the deaths of more than 2,900 people, mostly in China.

The panic and problems that burned through Anniston also provided a preview of what could unfold in other communities, as the spread of the virus is considered by health experts to be inevitable.

“Their little plan sketched out in D.C. was not thought out,” said Michael Barton, director of the emergency management agency in Calhoun County, where Anniston is located.

As local officials learned more, Barton added, “We knew then -”

We were in trouble,” said Tim Hodges, chairman of the county commission.

https://www.thehour.com/business/article/Coronavirus-rumors-and-chaos-in-Alabama-point-to-15096757.php#photo-19112018

Deadly Wuhan Pathogen Chronology

China built a lab to study SARS and Ebola in Wuhan – and US biosafety experts warned in 2017 that a virus could ‘escape’ the facility that’s become key in fighting the outbreak

The Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory is the only lab in China designated for studying dangerous pathogens like SARS and Ebola
Ahead of its January 2018 opening, biosafety experts and scientists from the US expressed concerns that a virus could escape the lab
In 2004, a SARS virus ‘leaked’ from a lab in Beijing
Experts say the coronavirus that’s infected more than 800 people mutated in animals and became capable of infecting humans at the Wuhan seafood market
But a 2017 article warned of the unpredictability of lab animals that scientists at the Wuhan lab intended to inject with viruses

By Natalie Rahhal Acting Us Health Editor

Published: 17:08 EST, 23 January 2020 | Updated: 20:56 EST, 24 January 2020

Scientists warned in 2017 that a SARS-like virus could escape a lab set up that year in Wuhan, China, to study some of the most dangerous pathogens in the world.

Now, a SARS-like coronavirus has infected more than 800 there, spread to at least 10 other countries and killed 25 in Wuhan and nearby provinces.

China installed the first of a planned five to seven biolabs designed for maximum safety in Wuhan in 2017, for the purpose of studying the most high-risk pathogens, including the Ebola and the SARS viruses.

Tim Trevan, a Maryland biosafety consultant, told Nature that year, when the lab was on the cusp of opening, that he worried that China’s culture could make the institute unsafe because ‘structures where everyone feels free to speak up and openness of information are important.’
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-7922379/Chinas-lab-studying-SARS-Ebola-Wuhan-outbreaks-center.html

The U.S. Scientist Who Predicted Coronavirus Could Kill 65 Million People–Three Months BEFORE the Outbreak in Wuhan, China

January 25, 2020 Cap Allon

U.S. health experts predicted a strain of the coronavirus could kill tens of millions of people in a warning three months BEFORE the deadly outbreak in Wuhan, China.

Scientists at the Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security modeled a hypothetical pandemic on a computer as part of research last October — their simulation predicted the deaths of some 65 million people worldwide in just 18 months.

According to latest reports coming out of China, the highly contagious disease has so far killed 41 people and infected around 1,300 others — but experts believe China is hiding the true figures–predicting the true number of those infected to be in the many thousands.

The U.S. Scientist Who Predicted Coronavirus Could Kill 65 Million People–Three Months BEFORE the Outbreak in Wuhan, China

Coronavirus: Wuhan has deadly pathogen lab linked to Chinese scientist under investigation

CHINA’S only secure laboratory for studying deadly diseases is located in Wuhan and was the destination of several trips made by a Chinese scientist who is under investigation by the Canadian government.
By Brian McGleenon
PUBLISHED: 22:47, Tue, Jan 28, 2020

The scientist who worked at the National Microbiology Lab in Winnipeg made at least five trips to China between 2017-18, including one to train scientists and technicians at China’s newly certified Level 4 lab, which does research with the most deadly pathogens. Xiangguo Qiu, who was escorted out of the Winnipeg lab in July amid an investigation into what’s being described by Public Health Agency of Canada as a possible “policy breach”, was invited to go to the Wuhan National Biosafety Laboratory of the Chinese Academy of Sciences twice a year for two years, for up to two weeks each time. Several of Mrs Qiu’s co-workers say there have always been questions about her trips to China, and what information and technology she was sharing with researchers there.

One employee said: “It’s not right that she’s a Canadian government employee providing details of top-secret work and know-how to set up a high-containment lab for a foreign nation,”

According to documents obtained CBC News during a September 2017 trip she also met with collaborators in Beijing, the documents say, but their names have also been blacked out.

Qiu, her husband Keding Cheng and her students from China were removed on July 5 from Canada’s only Level 4 lab, one equipped to work with the most serious and deadly human and animal diseases, such as Ebola.

Security access for the couple and the Chinese students was revoked.
https://www.express.co.uk/news/world/1234777/coronavirus-wuhan-lab-military-bio-warfare-virus-spread

AI Predicts Coronavirus Could Infect 2.5 Billion And Kill 53 Million. Doctors Say That’s Not Credible, And Here’s Why
John Koetsier
Contributor
Consumer Tech
Feb 5, 2020

John Koetsier is a journalist, analyst, author, and speaker.

An AI-powered simulation run by a technology executive says that Coronavirus could infect as many as 2.5 billion people within 45 days and kill as many as 52.9 million of them. Fortunately, however, conditions of infection and detection are changing, which in turn changes incredibly important factors that the AI isn’t aware of.

And that probably means we’re safer than we think.

Probably being the operative word.

https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkoetsier/2020/02/05/ai-predicts-coronavirus-could-infect-25b-and-kill-53m-doctors-say-thats-not-credible-and-heres-why/#37a78f5211cd

Could the new coronavirus really kill 50 million people worldwide?

Health | Analysis 11 February 2020

By Michael Le Page and Debora MacKenzie

If the spread of the new coronavirus isn’t halted, it could infect 60 per cent of the world’s population and kill 1 in 100 of those infected – around 50 million people.

This is what Gabriel Leung, chair of public health medicine at Hong Kong University, told The Guardian newspaper on 11 February. Is he right? The short answer is that no one knows, because there are many things we still don’t know about the virus.

Read more: https://www.newscientist.com/article/2233085-could-the-new-coronavirus-really-kill-50-million-people-worldwide/#ixzz6FIR729DP

US military prepping for coronavirus pandemic

Patricia Kime
February 12

U.S. Northern Command is executing plans to prepare for a potential pandemic of the novel coronavirus, now called COVID19, according to Navy and Marine Corps service-wide messages issued this week.

An executive order issued by the Joint Staff and approved by Defense Secretary Mark Esper this month directed Northern Command and geographic combatant commanders to initiate pandemic plans, which include ordering commanders to prepare for widespread outbreaks and confining service members with a history of travel to China.

The Navy and Marine Corps messages, issued Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, reference an executive order directing U.S. Northern Command to implement the Department of Defense Global Campaign plan for Pandemic Influenza and Infectious Diseases 3551-13.

The document serves as the Pentagon’s blueprint for planning and preparing for widespread dispersion of influenza and previously unknown diseases.

U.S. Northern Command said Wednesday it was directed the Joint Staff Feb. 1 to commence “prudent planning” in their assigned role synchronizing the department’s plans for pandemic flu and disease.
https://www.militarytimes.com/news/your-military/2020/02/13/us-military-prepping-for-coronavirus-pandemic/

Sudden Militarization Of Wuhan’s P4 Lab Raises New Questions About The Origin Of The Deadly Covid-19 Virus

by Tyler Durden
Thu, 02/13/2020 – 09:11

The reported militarization of Wuhan’s P4 Lab has raised new questions about the origin of the Covid-19 virus and the apparent cover-up that has occurred since it was first made public.

Following the removal of the most senior health officials in Wuhan yesterday, Chinese State Media has just reported that Chen Wei, China’s chief biochemical weapon defense expert, is now to be stationed in Wuhan to lead the efforts to overcome the deadly, pneumonia-like pathogen.

According to the PLA Daily report, Chen Wei holds the rank of major general, and along with reports that Chinese troops have started to “assist”, it strongly suggests that the PLA has taken control of the situation.

As Epoch Times reports, before this latest report, Chen’s military rank and specialization was not widely known. She was first interviewed on Jan. 30 by the state-run China Science Daily. In a second interview the next day, she predicted that the outbreak in Wuhan would let up over the next few days, but could worsen again soon…

“We need to prepare for the worst-case scenario, find the best solutions, and be ready to fight the longest battle,” she said.

Amid constant propaganda from CCP officials, and widespread censorship, many – including US Senator Tom Cotton – have wondered if the virus was bio-engineered, and was ‘leaked’ from the lab (which just happens to be located at the epicenter ofg the virus).

The militarization, and bringing in of China’s foremost bio-weapons expert raises the question once again of whether the Wuhan Strain of coronavirus (Covid-19) is the result of naturally emergent mutations against the possibility that it may be a bio-engineered strain meant for defensive immunotherapy protocols that was released into the public, most likely by accident since China’s rate of occupational accidents is about ten-times higher than America’s, and some twenty-times more than Europe’s – the only other regions with high-level virology labs.
https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/sudden-militarization-wuhans-p4-lab-raises-new-questions-about-origin-deadly-covid-19

Did coronavirus originate in Chinese government laboratory? Scientists believe killer disease may have begun in research facility 300 yards from Wuhan wet fish market

Beijing-sponsored South China University of Technology concludes that ‘the killer coronavirus probably originated from a laboratory in Wuhan’
It points to research on bats and respiratory diseases carried by the animals at the Wuhan Center for Disease Control and the Wuhan Institute of Virology
WCDC is just 300 yards from the seafood market and is adjacent to the hospital

By Ross Ibbetson For Mailonline

Published: 08:22 EST, 16 February 2020

Chinese scientists believe the deadly coronavirus may have started life in a research facility just 300 yards from the Wuhan fish market.

A new bombshell paper from the Beijing-sponsored South China University of Technology says that the Wuhan Center for Disease Control (WHCDC) could have spawned the contagion in Hubei province.

‘The possible origins of 2019-nCoV coronavirus,’ penned by scholars Botao Xiao and Lei Xiao claims the WHCDC kept disease-ridden animals in laboratories, including 605 bats.

It also mentions that bats – which are linked to coronavirus – once attacked a researcher and ‘blood of bat was on his skin.’
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8009669/Did-coronavirus-originate-Chinese-government-laboratory.html

Hubei Doctors Warn Of Even-Deadlier Coronavirus Reinfection Causing Sudden Heart Attacks

by Tyler Durden
Sun, 02/16/2020 – 09:20

Doctors working on the front lines of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak have told the Taiwan Times that it’s possible to become reinfected by the virus, leading to death from sudden heart failure in some cases.

“It’s highly possible to get infected a second time. A few people recovered from the first time by their own immune system, but the meds they use are damaging their heart tissue, and when they get it the second time, the antibody doesn’t help but makes it worse, and they die a sudden death from heart failure,” reads a message forwarded to Taiwan News from a relative of one of the doctors living in the United Kingdom.

The source also said the virus has “outsmarted all of us,” as it can hide symptoms for up to 24 days. This assertion has been made independently elsewhere, with Chinese pulmonologist Zhong Nanshan (鍾南山) saying the average incubation period is three days, but it can take as little as one day and up to 24 days to develop symptoms.

Also, the source said that false negative tests for the virus are fairly common. “It can fool the test kit – there were cases that they found, the CT scan shows both lungs are fully infected but the test came back negative four times. The fifth test came back positive.” -Taiwan Times

Notably, one of the ways coronaviruses cripple the immune system is via an HIV-like attachment to white blood cells, which triggers a ‘cytokine storm’ – a term popularized during the avian H5N1 influenza outbreak – in which an uncontrolled release of inflammatory ‘cytokines’ target various organs, often leading to failure and in many cases death.

The cytokine storm is best exemplified by severe lung infections, in which local inflammation spills over into the systemic circulation, producing systemic sepsis, as defined by persistent hypotension, hyper- or hypothermia, leukocytosis or leukopenia, and often thrombocytopenia.

In addition to lung infections, the cytokine storm is a consequence of severe infections in the gastrointestinal tract, urinary tract, central nervous system, skin, joint spaces, and other sites. (Tisoncik, et. al, Into the Eye of the Cytokine Storm)(2012)

According to the 2012 study, “Cytokine storms are associated with a wide variety of infectious and noninfectious diseases and have even been the unfortunate consequence of attempts at therapeutic intervention.”

How do coronaviruses enter the body?

With SARS (sudden acute respiratory syndrome), another coronavirus, researchers discovered that one of the ways the disease attaches itself is through an enzyme known as ACE2, a ‘functional receptor’ produced in several organs (oral and nasal mucosa, nasopharynx, lung, stomach, small intestine, colon, skin, lymph nodes, thymus, bone marrow, spleen, liver, kidney, and brain).

ACE2 is also “abundantly present in humans in the epithelia of the lung and small intestine, which might provide possible routes of entry for the SARS-CoV,” while it was also observed “in arterial and venous endothelial cells and arterial smooth muscle cells” – which would include the heart.

This has led some to speculate that Asians, who have higher concentrations of ACE2 (per the 1000 genome project) may be affected to a greater degree than those of European ancestry, who produce the least of it – and have largely been the asymptomatic ‘super spreaders’ such as Diamond Princess coronavirus victim Rebecca Frasure.

And so while more research on COVID-19 is urgently needed – we know that coronavirus can target ACE2 receptors, which are found in the cardiovascuar system. And we have seen evidence of both sudden collapses and neurological damage from footage pouring out of Wuhan, China.

If the virus can reinfect patients and cause cytokine storms and sudden death – possibly exacerbated by therapeutic intervention – treating the coronavirus which CDC director Dr. Robert Redfield says will become widespread throughout the United States ‘this year or next,’ it is vitally important to understand exactly how COVID-19 works, and how to treat it. That would require cooperation from China and a CDC team on the ground in the epicenter. For some unknown reason, however, China still refuses to grant US scientists access to ground zero.

https://www.zerohedge.com/health/hubei-doctors-warn-even-deadlier-coronavirus-reinfection-causing-sudden-heart-attacks

If Coronavirus Is Killing Fewer People Than the Flu, Why Has Beijing Quarantined Millions?

Feb. 21, 2020 8:00 pm ET

China’s Leaders on the Hot Seat

Market Intelligence Report by TIS Group

Feb. 21: Over the past several days, we have detailed some, though not all, of the actions being taken by China’s government to control the coronavirus outbreak. I was told today that roughly 50,000 people die in China each year from the flu. If the coronavirus is just another flu-like virus and the current death toll really is about 2,000, not 50,000, why then has Beijing locked down 750 million people? Why has it quarantined the 11 million people in Wuhan? Why has it instituted wartime controls in an area near Wuhan and to some extent used the same controls in Beijing? Why did Beijing refuse help from the U.S. at the beginning of the outbreak? Why is Chinese cash being disinfected? Why is bleach being used to disinfect people in the cities? This doesn’t make sense if the coronavirus is just another form of the flu and the economic damage it is causing is going to be hopscotched over by central bank injections.

Perhaps the most unpriced risk of all in this saga is the political risk forming over the Chinese leadership. If the coronavirus isn’t a garden-variety flu but something more critical, then the failure to build a modern health-care system will be an internal and external problem for the party.

—Larry E. Jeddeloh
https://www.barrons.com/articles/if-coronavirus-is-killing-fewer-people-than-the-flu-why-has-beijing-quarantined-millions-51582333212

New data from China buttress fears about high coronavirus fatality rate, WHO expert says

By Helen Branswell @HelenBranswell

February 25, 2020

One of the hopes of people watching China’s coronavirus outbreak was that the alarming picture of its lethality is probably exaggerated because a lot of mild cases are likely being missed.

But on Tuesday, a World Health Organization expert suggested that does not appear to be the case. Bruce Aylward, who led an international mission to China to learn about the virus and China’s response, said the specialists did not see evidence that a large number of mild cases of the novel disease called Covid-19 are evading detection.

“So I know everybody’s been out there saying, ‘Whoa, this thing is spreading everywhere and we just can’t see it, tip of the iceberg.’ But the data that we do have don’t support that,” Aylward said during a briefing for journalists at WHO’s Geneva headquarters.

New data from China buttress fears about high coronavirus fatality rate, WHO expert says

Will the coronavirus kill the global economy?

By Laurence Kotlikoff, Opinion Contributor — 02/25/20 03:30 PM EST

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill

It’s the $85 trillion (global GDP) question: Will the coronavirus kill the global economy? What we know is incredibly scary. The disease is a prolific killer and a stealthy one at that. Over 2 percent of its victims die. For people in their 80s, the death rate is around 10 percent. The latest information suggests that the virus can incubate in one’s body for as long as a month before producing symptoms.

That’s ample time for an unsuspecting infected person to kiss you, sneeze on you, breathe on you, shake your hand, open the same door, use the same faucet, take the same cruise, touch the same toilet flusher, travel in the same train, bus or plane.

Were all of our planet’s nearly eight billion inhabitants to become infected, we’re talking roughly 160 million deaths — twice the number of military and civilian deaths in World War II. Could the virus spread that dramatically, infecting us all?

Well, consider how passengers on the Diamond Princess cruise liner fared. On February 1, just one passenger had clear signs of coronavirus. Thanks to their on-board, two-week quarantine, 691 passengers are now infected for an infection rate of one in five. If the virus can reach so many so quickly, what can it do over time?

Yes, the originally healthy passengers had no means to fully distance themselves from the sick passengers. But when each “healthy” person is potentially a disease carrier, none of us really has such a means. Economically, emotionally, practically and morally speaking, we can’t distance ourselves from each other for, say, two months and then re-start the world with whoever’s still standing.
https://thehill.com/opinion/finance/484500-will-the-coronavirus-kill-the-global-economy

A single coronavirus case exposes a bigger problem: The scope of undetected U.S. spread is unknown

By Helen Branswell @HelenBranswell

February 27, 2020

The discovery that a California woman was likely infected with the novel coronavirus by a previously unrecognized case in her community is proof of an enormous problem the country is facing at the moment, according to public health experts. It’s clear that the virus is spreading undetected in the United States — but how broadly it’s spreading is an utter mystery.

Before Thursday, a perfect storm of problems in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s development of test kits — and the agency’s reluctance to expand its recommendation of who should be tested given the limited availability of kits — meant very little testing has been done in the country. As of Wednesday, the CDC said that 445 people had been tested — a fraction of the number of tests that other countries have run.

The new case in California makes it clear the virus is spreading undetected in at least one area of one state. The woman is not believed to have traveled outside the country and had no contact with a known case. As her condition worsened — she is on a ventilator — health officials in California asked the CDC to test her for the virus. Because she had not been to China and had not been a contact of a known case, the agency said no.

Eventually, more than 10 days after she went into hospital, the CDC agreed she could be tested. Dozens of health workers who may have come into contact with her at NorthBay VacaValley Hospital, in Vacaville, Calif., are now being monitored.

California Gov. Gavin Newsom was critical of the testing debacle in a press conference on Thursday. His state has only 200 kits to test for the new coronavirus, he said.

“Testing protocols have been a point of frustration for many of us,” Newsom said. He added that, based on conversations with the CDC, states have been informed new protocols are coming and they have been promised an “exponentially” increased capacity to test.

A single coronavirus case exposes a bigger problem: The scope of undetected U.S. spread is unknown

 

Washington Declares State Of Emergency After 1st US Coronavirus Death; New China Cases Jump: Live Updates

by Tyler Durden
Sat, 02/29/2020 – 20:19

Summary:

CDC says “no national spread of coronavirus in US”

S.Korea reports another 376 new cases

China reports 573 new cases.

US reports first death from Covid-19 (in Washington State)

Washington declares state of emergency

US Surgeon General says “stop buying masks”

Trump blasts media/Dems for ‘hoax’-gate

South Korea’s Shincheonji Church members found 1557 out of 1900 tested positive for virus

Germany boosts border controls

Italy tops 1000 cases (1,128, with 29 possible virus-linked deaths)

France bans large gatherings

Update (2030ET): And here comes the NHC with China’s numbers from Saturday. Mainland China reported 573 new coronavirus cases. Note the ~150 case increase from 427 on Friday. 51,856 are still under “medical observation” across China. In all, there have been 79,824 confirmed cases in mainland China, though most experts believe the true total could be much higher.
https://www.zerohedge.com/geopolitical/fda-announces-plan-speed-coronavirus-testing-south-korea-reports-huge-jump-new-cases

COVID-19 Coronavirus Outbreak

Last updated: March 01, 2020, 01:20 GMT
Cases – Deaths – Countries – Death Rate – Incubation – Age – Symptoms – Opinions – News
Coronavirus Cases:
86,989
view by country
Deaths:
2,978
https://www.worldometers.info/coronavirus/

Inside Wuhan: Medical team transfers coronavirus patients

The Moves That Matter: A Chess Grandmaster on the Game of Life: Part One

The review will begin with the bottom line. The book is a lovingly written, magnificent masterpiece. Anyone reading it will be richly rewarded in ways they may not even understand at the time of reading. This is most definitely not a book one reads and forgets. It is a book to savor.

I met Grandmaster Jonathan Rowson at the World Open in 2002 while assisting Thad Rogers in the book room after turning certain victory into defeat in the first round and after losing the next two games Thad needed help and the book room looked inviting. There was a discussion concerning his book, The Seven Deadly Chess Sins,

which had been read the previous year. Later I read Jonathan’s Chess For Zebras,

which was very entertaining, and while working at the Atlanta Chess & Game Center I advocated any and everyone purchase his excellent books. All I recall now about our conversation is that other books were discussed and when asked to name my favorite novel I answered immediately, “The Glass Bead Game, by Hermann Hesse.”

“Really?!” he said before continuing with a question, “Why?”

Why, indeed. I no longer remember how I answered, but do recall being taken aback, because most people with whom I have mentioned the novel have not even been aware of the book. I also recall Jonathan displaying actions which led me to believe he was about ready to leave, so the answer was truncated. In addition I recall Jonathan saying, after I answered his question, “Fascinating!”

GM Rowson tied for first at the 2002 World Open. Because of the pleasant memories of the chance encounter I will admit it is difficult for me to be completely objective. In addition, upon learning of the forthcoming publication of the book about to be reviewed I contacted the publishing company, informing them of the blog and the encounter with Jonathan, while informing them I would like to review the book. I had hoped to finish reading the book long before publication in order to review it ASAP, but life intervened. Another factor is that the book required much more thought than I had imagined, which is a very good thing. A quote from the book comes to mind: “You cannot think about thinking without thinking about thinking about something.” – cognitive scientist Martin Minsky. Therefore reading the book required much more time than I had imagined.

The book is full of wonderful quotes, which is a positive thing. Decades ago there was a show on public television, Thinking Allowed, hosted by Dr. Jeffery Mishlove.

http://www.thinkingallowed.com/jm.html

Jonathan Rowson would have made an excellent guest on the program. (Just put Thinking Allowed into the Startpage.com search engine and found: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFk448YbGITLnzplK7jwNcw. Oh happy day!)

After briefly perusing the book one long time National Master Chess player closed it before saying, “Where’s the meat?!” This meant GAMES. After explaining there were about two dozen games contained in the notes he exclaimed, “What kind of Chess book is that?!” This caused me to consider the question too long because he began talking before I could answer. I was never able to answer his question because, to his way of thinking, a Chess book with mostly words was most definitely NOT a Chess book. This has caused me to reflect upon what, exactly, is a Chess book. For example, consider Frank Brady’s book on Bobby Fischer, Endgame: Bobby Fischer’s Remarkable Rise and Fall – from America’s Brightest Prodigy to the Edge of Madness.

Would it be considered a Chess book? Maybe what constitutes a “Chess book” is what is in the eye of the beholder…

The Moves That Matter is is a book about oh so much more than Chess. It is a book written by a man who devoted most of his early years, and maybe half of his life, to the Royal game, so therefore it does contain much Chess put into words, but, strictly speaking, it is not about Chess. It is about so much more than a mere game. The book is about life, and thinking about life. Although the reader will be entertained, it is not about entertaining per se. It is a “deep” book which will cause the reader to do some seriously deep thinking. That is to be expected since Dr. Jonathan Rowson is an applied philosopher. “The Society for Applied Philosophy was founded in 1982 with the aim of promoting philosophical work that has a direct bearing on areas of practical concern.” (https://www.appliedphil.org/)

In lieu of a review I have decided to write about the the ideas and questions contained in the book. Copious notes were taken while reading; twelve pages of college ruled note paper to be precise. What I will attempt to do is share some of the thoughts and questions in the book that caused me to question and think about those thoughts and questions.

The book contains eight chapters each broken down into another eight sub-headings. The format caused me to reflect upon one of my favorite books, The Eight,

by Katherine Neville.


Katherine Neville in 1985
A photograph of the author in San Francisco’s Marin Headlands, California, 1985.

In the first chapter, Thinking and Feeling, under sub-heading #5 Asking Pertinent Questions, one finds, “There are many different ways to frame the educational value of chess, but if I had to sum it up in one word, it would probably be: ‘questions’.

If I had three words it would be ‘questions about relationships’. As the writer Marinan Benjamin puts it, to ask a question is to invest in attentiveness, to declare a stake in the answer, and that is one of the many gifts of chess; you cease to be a passive recipient of information, and become an active learner – an intrinsically rewarding experience. Playing chess is about posing questions to the opponent, and answering the questions they pose you; the little questions are always nested inside bigger ones.”

We will move ahead to the last chapter, Life and Death, under sub-heading #64, Facing up to death. It is written, “The 2009 Acropolis Open in Greece was overshadowed by the death of a respected Greek player, Nikolaos Karapanos, who had a heart attack just before executing a winning move in his first-round game. His opponent, Israeli Grandmaster Dan Zoler, who happens to be a doctor, tried to revive him, but Karapanos stopped breathing before the ambulance arrived.
This story indicates just how stress-inducing chess can be, but the deeper point is that we never know when our time will come. All the major spiritual traditions speak about the importance of being ready for the unthinkable, and the importance of being ready for the unthinkable, and the importance of dying at peace, without undue regret.
It seems profane to point out that Zoler resigned the game, but he also withdrew from the event, stating that he no longer felt like playing chess in the circumstances. You can hardly blame him. Chess sometimes seems singularly charming and vitally important, but a brief reflection on our mortality has to lead to some searching questions. Is this it? Pushing these pieces around? Is this what I am supposed to be doing?”

Nikolaos Karapanos vs Dan Zoler
24th ICT Acropolis (2009), Chalkida, Greece, rd 1, Aug-10
Catalan Opening: General (E00)

1.d4 Nf6 2.c4 e6 3.g3 Bb4+ 4.Bd2 c5 5.Bxb4 cxb4 6.Bg2 O-O
7.Nf3 d6 8.O-O a5 9.a3 Na6 10.Nbd2 Qc7 11.h3 Rd8 12.e4 e5
13.Qe2 b6 14.a4 Bb7 15.b3 Re8 16.Rad1 Rad8 17.Rfe1 exd4
18.Nxd4 Nc5 19.f3 Nh5 20.Nf1 d5 21.cxd5 Bxd5 22.exd5 Rxe2
23.Rxe2 g6 24.f4 Nf6 25.Nc6 Rd7 26.Ne5 Rd8 27.Nc6 Rd7 28.Ne5
Nxb3 29.Nxd7 Nxd7 30.d6 Qc5+ 31.Kh2 Kg7 32.Re7 Qc8 33.Ne3 Nf6
34.d7 Qd8 35.Ng4 Kf8 36.Ne5 Nc5 1-0
https://www.chessgames.com/perl/chessgame?gid=1554879

See the excellent article by Daaim Shabazz at The Chess Drum:

Playing Chess to Death

Aug 4th, 2019 by Daaim Shabazz

Playing Chess to Death

End part one

Dr Richard Cann R.I.P.

In Memoriam: Richard Cann

Friday November 8, 2019

Longtime Go-player Richard Cann, 68, died on Sunday, Oct. 6th of ALS. A memorial service will be held Nov. 16th from 1-4pm at the Hopewell Valley Vineyards, 46 Yard Rd, Pennington, NJ 08534.

Born in Pasadena, California he grew up in Denver, Colorado and lived for many years in Hopewell Township, NJ. He received a BA in 1972, and a Ph.D. in 1978 from Princeton University. He was a member of the United States Chess Federation, the American Go Association and the Recording Industry Associates of America. He was the IT Director for the Atlantic Trading Company from 2002 until the time of his death.

Richard was known for his passion for music; the game of Go, which he played at a 2 dan level; and his joy in skiing the black diamond trails of Colorado with his brother. He enjoyed fishing and hiking on his trips to Colorado. He had 30 years of Sunday morning hard fought racquetball games with a dear friend. He was a skilled competitor with a generally superior ability at games of most sorts. His talented musicianship on guitar, violin and piano was expressed by the musical bands he formed and played with over his lifetime. He was known for his warmth, kindness, quiet sense of humor and his easy smile. He had a gift for teaching, whether it was a game, a musical instrument or a physics theory. He had great love for his family as well as the numerous dogs who were valued companions throughout his adult life. He is terribly missed.

Condolences can be sent to his widow, Joanne Sheehan at joanne.sheehan@pobox.com.
photo by Phil Straus

In Memoriam: Richard Cann

All The Wrong Moves Part Seven: The Secret Of Chess

This paragraph is the first of chapter 7: The Secret Of Chess.

I first stumbled upon the lectures of my future teacher and spiritual guardian,

Ben Finegold,

during a despairing google for chess tips in Bangkok. He was different from all the other chess lecturers I’d seen before. Most lecturing grandmasters, even the most charming ones, approach the game with a hushed reverence, as if delivering news on a pediatric oncology ward, or trying to placate an errant tiger. Finegold is the complete opposite. He’s charismatic, frank, and viciously funny, matching a respect for the game’s elegance with flagrant mockery of everything else. When Finegold’s students raise their hands, he often points a meaty had at them and says, “You, with the wrong answer,” or “You, with some crazy comment.” Upon hearing one of their replies, he’ll often respond, “Ugh, that was painful,” or “Hey, you’re the best player in your chair.” He’s given to claiming that the Panov-Botvinnik Atack was named after “Mr. Attack.” His lectures are littered with Tarantino references, imitations of other lecturers from hiss chess club, and fatuous advice like “never move pawns.”

Finegold

has a unique place in the chess world. He has ardent fans, because of his aforementioned characteristics, and many detractors, also because of his aforementioned characteristics. Moreover, he lives on an odd plateau of chess skill – that of the low-level grandmaster.

Ouch.

It seems like just yesterday Ben was being proclaimed “The World’s Strongest IM,” while gracing the cover of Chess Life (now Lifeless) magazine. Garner that coveted GM title and nobody knows your name…

The fact that this is a coherent concept is another illustration of the vast distance between the amateur and the professional player. To any player like me, any grandmaster lives in an unreachable and starry grove of intellectual superiority. Someone like Finegold can calculate in drunken sleep better than I can while achieving satori on Adderall. But, to most grandmasters, Finegold isn’t that notable, except for his personality.

Euwe, that hurts!

There are essentially two ways you could regard Finegold, given his position in the chess ecosystem. You could see him as a pitiable example of the game’s mercilessness, by focusing on the fact that Finegold never made it to the upper ranks. On the other hand, you could see him as someone who hurled himself directly into the howling void of chess and came out intact, with a fan following, two kids, a little house in Georgia,

and the ability to eke out a modest living by teaching his favorite game to captivated pupils –

occasionally including desperate adults who come all the way from Canada to absorb his teachings.

I arrived in St. Louis a few days before my first meeting with Finegold, to have a chance to explore the city. And during this pre-Finegold interval, I had a random meeting with a stranger that would prove to be an omen of the month ahead. She was a woman walking alone downtown, screaming.

“Are you okay?” I asked.
“Holy shit,” she screamed.
“Um,” I said.
“Fuck all these pussy-ass people,” she screamed.
“I am so tired of this life,” she screamed.
“Damn it,” she screamed.
She walked away. And, unfortunately, I came to agree with her about the city of St. Louis.

This is probably my fault. I am a great believer in the idea that a failure to love is often the fault of the lover. If I were more patient and more curious and more forgiving, I probably could’ve found more to appreciate. I’m told that St. Louis contains many beautiful sun-strewn lanes and cheerful people, and fun bars where tender words are exchanged over locally made beers of the highest quality. But that is not what I found. What I found was a humid, boring, and flat place, dappled with some of the most dangerous neighborhoods in North America. According to the website of the St. Louis Police, you shouldn’t “wear clothing or shoes that restrict your movement” in their fair metropolis, so you can run away from assailants if you need to.
The local food, also, is hilarious. There’s a special kind of pizza they make there, which is a prank played by Satan. It’s a cracker, topped with ketchup, finished with a goopy kind of processed cheese that you’ve never had before, because they invented a new kind of cheese for this pizza. It’s edible caulking that clings to the back of your throat, reminding you that you live in an unjust world.

Based on my experiences, I cannot recommend St. Louis. Unless, that is, you’re interested in studying chess. Weirdly, St. Louis is the home of the world’s best chess school. This is the greatest love of billionaire Rex Sinquefield,


https://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-36257742

a longtime St. Louis resident. Although he was never a skilled player, he was a skilled investor, to say the least, and he arrived at retirement age with enough money that he could quite casually open an air-conditioned temple devoted to his favorite game, and bankroll grandmaster lectures as well as exclusive tournaments with big prizes for the strongest players in the world. The club is housed in a pristine two-story commercial property, and might be mistaken for a posh hernia clinic or a yoga studio if not for the chess pieces depicted on the frontispiece’s stained glass windows.

We have now arrived at what I consider to be the best part of the book, that being the meeting of the teacher and the pupil.

“Hey, Finegold,” I said.
“Sup,” he said.
“I’m Sasha,

that Canadian guy.”
“Who?”
“That guy who emailed you.”
“I know who you are.”
“Yeah, so here I am.”

You ever notice that no matter where you go, there you are?

“How many lessons are you looking for?”
“I was thinking like ten hours.”
“You could do more – the more you pay, the more you learn.”

Wasn’t that the motto of Trump University?

As I considered this, a class of kids, whom he had just taught, flooded out of the classroom and started playing blitz in the lobby, which is to say that they started knocking pieces off tables, knocking clocks off tables, making illegal moves, and screaming at each other. Finegold presided for a few minutes until the parents showed up, delighting the kids with a barrage of verbal abuse, and then returned to me with a searching look on his face.
“Jesus, I want to kill myself,” he said, very quietly.
“Wait till you see my games,” I said.
“You’re not here to impress me, you’re here to learn.”
“But I’d like to impress you.”
“Well, you won’t.”

And he was right. He was right about everything. Sooner or later, everything he told me came true.

Just Because Someone Goes Crazy, It Doesn’t Mean You Also Have to Go Crazy

“If your wife

cheats on you, that’s bad,” Finegold said. “She shouldn’t have done that.

But if you then kill her, kill yourself, and the mailman, that’s not really constructive. You shouldn’t escalate a situation just because someone else did.”

“How does this apply to chess?” I said.

“Well, you consider yourself a creative guy, which is kind of a problem. So, from move two, you’re going out of you mind, trying to invent a work of genius. Which means that when your opponents play crazy, you start playing even crazier. Don’t do that. Just don’t be crazy at all. When they play weird, just play normal good moves. Other grandmasters will tell you that you have to punish your opponents for all of their mistakes. That’s one point of view. My point of view is that you have to win chess games.”

The wisdom of this became clear after the lesson, when we played some blitz at one of the tables

set up on the sidewalk outside the club.

The muggy air was licking my face. Cute couples walked by on their way to Whole Foods, unaware that they were passing a spectacle of truly historic importance: my first game against a grandmaster. It was also the first time I’d ever played against someone drinking two brands of seltzer at once. Finegold played the Slav Defense, an extremely solid opening.

“I hate playing against the Slav,” I said.
“The truth hurts,” he said.
“Is this a good move?”
“It’s a move.”
“But is it good?”
“Probably not. Whose turn is it?”

He moved his queen deep into my territory. For the first ten moves, I thought I might have a microscopic chance of victory, because I didn’t lose all of my pieces. But, every other turn, I made a slight mistake that I didn’t know I was making, and in the face of my craziness, he responded not with theatrics but with a quiet malice. As sweat dripped down my chest, I realized that a crowd was gathering – all the kids in the neighborhood wanted to see Finegold crush me. I tried to put up a good fight so I could entertain these little boys and girls, who were soon to be embittered adults, maybe losing at chess themselves. But Finegold didn’t give me a good fight – he gave me a slow, vicious grind, allowing me only to twist lamely while he attained total control. I was a jittery rabbit, running from a surefooted cheetah, in a maze whose pathways slowly curled in on each other and contracted, until we were confined together, predator and prey, in a tiny cell. Under the pressure, I cracked, and made a horrible blunder.
“You’ll have to forgive him for that,” Finegold said to the audience. “He’s tired, because he just moved here. From Crazytown.”

Finegold, who was always coming and going, and who noticed everything, observed that I was having a lot of fun, and that it was translating into my play as a whole. He disapproved.

“Take a look at those guys over there,” he said, during a lesson, pointing to an array of portraits of great players that hung on the far wall.

“What am I supposed to be seeing?” I said.

“Tell me who looks like he’s never had fun in his life.”

“Um, Kasparov.”

Garry Kasparov was the top-ranked player in the world for nineteen years, except for a three-month-long slump. And he was famous for his boundless, masochistic work ethic. “Chess is mental torture,” he said.

“Yeah, Kasparov never had any fun. Now, tell me who looks like he’s furious all the time.”

“Bobby Fischer.”

Remembering Bobby Fisher – I

“Yeah, Fischer. That guy didn’t have a lot of fun.”

What he was saying was true. Slow tournament chess, played well, is like violent meditation. The mind is wrenched by an evolving series of parenthetical thoughts, during which the limits of human cognition are directly assaulted.

“Being a winner starts when you realize what a loser you are.”

At my next lesson, I explained my emotional turmoil to Finegold. He was having none of it. “Your emotions are irrelevant,” he said. “You can’t stop protecting your pawns because you’re sad. Chess isn’t one of those crazy stories that you sell to a magazine. You’re not a hero; your opponent isn’t the villain.”

“It’s hard for me not to think like that. It’s kind of who I am,” I said.

“Well, then, don’t be yourself.”

“I can tell you everything I know,” he said, “but absorbing it can take years. Chess is hard. Like, let’s take a simple part of being a grandmaster. To be a grandmaster, you have to spend a lot of time thinking about what your opponents want to do, rather than just focusing on your own plans. Saying that to you is easy, but it’s hard to do, because just thinking about yourself is kind of the human instinct. Being good at chess is pretty counterintuitive. A lot of the time, you’re fighting your basic tendencies.”

“That sounds hard.”

“It’s actually easy. It’s just impossible.”

I was twenty-nine years old. I walked back towards the metro station, through the deserted streets beyond, between beautiful art deco skyscrapers, and I thought about what Finegold had said at the end of our first lesson. After we’d gone through a few of my games, he had nonchalantly asked me whether I’d like to know the secret of chess.

“Um, sure,” I said.

“Okay, I’ll tell you. But you’re not going to believe me,” he said. “And maybe you never will.”

This was correct. I had no idea what to make of the secret of chess. And I definitely didn’t believe it. Only later, much later, when I was walking on a beach in California, did his words really strike me with their full force.

The review must end somewhere, and this is where it ends. It seems I have written, arguably, too much, but actually, it is only the tip of the iceberg. To learn the secret of chess, according to Ben Finegold you must find a copy and read it for yourself. You can thank me later…

All The Wrong Moves Review: Part 3 One Night In Bangkok

The third chapter begins, “My headlong descent into an Internet chess wormhole did terrible things to my personality.”

Let me take a moment to inform you, the reader, that I once tried to play the Royal game on the internet. This was at the former Atlanta Chess & Game Center on one of the computers in the back room. It only took a few games before the realization hit me in the form of a question. “What the fork are you doing, man?” That particular form of Chess held absolutely no interest for me and, frankly, I question the sanity of anyone who would do such a thing.

Mr. Chapin continues, “This is because Internet chess is a fertile breeding ground for hatred. When you’re playing someone who isn’t visible, known to you only by their nickname – SchellingFord or ButtSex69 – your competitive instincts are unmitigated by the basic civilizing effect of the presence of a living person before you.”

This reminded me of the time Lester Bedell, after having been away from the House of Pain for about a year, walked through the door just in time to be paired for the nightly tournament. I asked Lester where he had been during the year he had missed and he replied, “I was playing on the internet.” Later, between rounds, I asked Lester why he had returned to the House. “Mike,” he began, “It’s not the same, playing on a computer. I returned because I missed playing a human being.”

Sasha continues, “But on the Internet, the patter is a little different. When somebody asks you what cup size your mother is, you say, “Fuck you.”

“How your mother do it?”

“I ignored his continuous abuse until right before the end of the game, when I offered the gracious message “You lose.”

“Come in hell for cock suck,” he responded.

Why would anyone in their right mind spend their precious time cursing someone via the internet while playing Chess? There was much trash talking in the pits, or skittles room, at the House of Pain, but without the cursing and without involving anyone’s mother, fortunately. What was heard, mostly, was what could be called “good natured trash talk,” if such a thing is possible. I never liked trash talking and never understood why anyone would do it other than to break the concentration of his opponent. I would watch players trash talking each other while those watching the game would laugh uproariously and think of something IM Boris Kogan was fond of saying, “This is not chess.” Writing this caused me to reflect upon something written in the previous chapter, “Badly played chess is kind of like badly played life.”

Because of constantly playing Chess on the internet, “My life was a constant alternation between triumph and ignominy, all delivered through the glow of my MacBook. The ratio of wins to losses was the determinant of my whole emotional spectrum.”

Is that not sad? Then reality struck.

“At some point I became alarmed that I wasn’t actively seeking human company. It wasn’t exactly that I was getting lonelier. It’s that I was disturbed by how little my loneliness was affecting me now that I was playing chess. This wasn’t how it was supposed to be. There was an ideal personality I was supposed to be striving for: that of a witty and urbane writer-type who would fling consequential phrases from his well-compensated fingers before going our in the evening to quip his way through intimate gatherings and win over strangers with lustrous anecdotes. But none of that was happening at all. In Bangkok, a bright and gritty city, totally free to be whomever I wanted, I was becoming a chess nerd.”

Who wants to be a chess nerd, right? Actually, Chess nerds come in various shapes and sizes. To wit:

“So, I downloaded Tinder, in an attempt to prove to myself that I still possessed worldly desires. Resultantly, I met up with a cute girl named Sundae on a lantern-lit patio. She was charming and smart and full of contagious optimism, sure that both of our lives would be forever involved in a state of continuous improvement and joy.”

Oh, to be young again! Her name was Cecelia Jordan, Cecil for short. She had driven a clunker all the way from Sacremento, California, to become a stewardess for Delta Air Lines. She was cute as a button with a rather deep voice like that of one of my earliest crushes, June Allyson. She initiated me into the “Mile High Club.”

I digress…

Sasha and Sundae had a wonderful one night in Bangkok. “But later that week, when she sent me a very felicitous text, I was deep in a chess game. Two days later, she texted me again, at 1 a.m. But I didn’t respond immediately because I was deep in a chess game.”

He fell into the rabbit hole…”My only contacts with non-chess reality were Elena and Sally…”

“So, it occurred to me, in Bangkok, as I started feeling like a sack of fatback left under a heat lamp, that I might be in the middle of this cycle again. Perhaps my chess infatuation was just another vanishing fancy…”

To Sasha it was obvious things had to change because, “I was becoming frightened of my increasingly hostile interior landscape, so I decided that I needed counsel. Therapy occurred to me…Instead, I decided I needed the presence of other chess players, who would steer me in the right direction. I took a shower, got on the Skytrain, and went to meet the Bangkok Chess Club.”

The club met on the upper floor of a pub on the far end of Soi Cowboy, one of Bangkok’s high-efficiency sex markets. Pink lights illuminated pink banners over bars where pink drinks were served by women wearing pink bikinis. Reality was painted one color. Up and down the neon-crated avenue, the working women preened with numbers pinned to their chests. It was a slow night, so the salesmanship was particularly energetic. One woman in a barely existing spandex onesie took my hand and asked me where I was going. When I didn’t offer a distinct answer, she took hold of my crotch. I gently removed her hand from my person, saying something like, “Excuse me, ma’am, I have to go to chess club.”

“At the chess club…Social affiliation has only one cost: the game of chess. Friendship in chess is simple. It isn’t about smartly signaling that you’ve got the right opinions about recent topics. It’s about examining small areas of the game’s infinite tapestry – finding each other in a landscape that transcends the complexities of cultural taste, as well as every geographical boundary. This common bond engenders a positive spirit. With the exception of a few petty jerks, chess players tend to be cooperative creatures.”

“That first night at chess club

brought me back from the edge of melancholy.”

“There are different kinds of players, and broadly, you can sort them by how crazy they are.”

“Strangely, I now remember those pre-tournament days fondly, and not just because of the specialty beverages of Southeast Asia. When you’re devoting your life to chess, even if the devotion is as troubled as mine was, there’s a satisfying purity to it all. You’re surrendering yourself to a search for aesthetic pleasure as well as mental fitness. Chess, to the seasoned player, is pretty like poetry is pretty – it bears the wonder of indelible combinations arising from a simple language.”

It also brought information about a chess tournament, and a chess teacher named Mike. Before the first round of the tournament Mike said, “I’ll be watching you.”

“Do you have any advice? I asked.”

“Be calm,” he said. Ignore psychology, ignore your self, ignore the face of you opponent – just play a good move.”

“I lost the game in fifteen moves, in fifteen minutes – an astonishingly brief amount of time…”

“After I slept for twelve hours, I emailed the tournament directors, announcing my resignation. I would not be attending the remaining six games. This brought me great, instant relief. Clearly, I had been right when I was a teenager – chess just wasn’t my game. A chess hobby would lead only to misery and frustration. I decided to quit, and to keep doing things I was good at.”

Mind Control, Chess, and the Race to Find a Superman in Sport

The following excerpts are from: Mind control, levitation and no pain: the race to find a superman in sport published April 18 in The Guardian.

The US and Soviet Union both believed people could develop superpowers. And, reveals The Men on Magic Carpets,

their psychic experiments played out in the sporting arena, by Ed Hawkins.

Baguio City, the Philippines, 14 years later. Mental combat has begun for the World Chess Championship. Anatoly Karpov, the golden boy of the Soviet Union, is playing Viktor Korchnoi, a defector the regime loves to hate. Despite sitting opposite each other for hour after hour, day after day, they have not spoken. But somebody is talking to Korchnoi. There is a voice inside his head. It is incessant. Over and over and over it berates him: “YOU. MUST. LOSE.”


Viktor Korchnoi and Anatoly Karpov compete for the 1978 World Chess Championship. Photograph: Jerry Cooke/Corbis via Getty Images

Korchnoi recognises the voice. It’s not his. It belongs to the man sitting in the front row of the audience since the match began. His heart starts to beat a little faster. He begins to sweat.

“YOU. SHOULD. STOP. FIGHT. AGAINST. KARPOV.”

The demands keep coming. Korchnoi is not afraid but he is angry. He understands perfectly what is happening. The man is trying to control his thoughts.

“YOU. ARE. TRAITOR. OF. SOVIET. PEOPLE.”

The man sits cross-legged, dressed immaculately in a white shirt and dark brown suit, reclining with a hint of arrogance. He looks like an accountant, albeit a somewhat demented one. A slight smirk plays across his face. His eyes are terrifying, bearing into Korchnoi. He does not blink until Korchnoi is defeated.

Both of these stories are true. Murphy, the zany hippy in bell-bottom jeans warbling occult orders, would, in time, have the US government dancing to his tune. And Dr Vladimir Zoukhar, the immaculately dressed communist spook, staring demonically for comrade and country, was considered the KGB’s mind control expert. Both men were protagonists in an extraordinarily paranoid chapter of human history: the cold war.

Murphy was no regular football fan. Known as “the godfather of the human potential movement”, he co-founded the Esalen Institute, a famed new age retreat and pillar of the counterculture movement in 60s California. It was a centre for eastern religions, philosophy, alternative medicines, and a fair amount of nude hot-tub bathing. Controversial eroticist Henry Miller swam at the hot springs in the grounds, Beatle George Harrison once landed his helicopter there to jam with Ravi Shankar, and Timothy Leary, whom Richard Nixon called “the most dangerous man in America”, taught regular workshops on the benefits of LSD, claiming that women could orgasm hundreds of times during sex when under the influence. And most recently, in the final frames of Mad Men, advertising executive Don Draper was seen smiling on Esalen’s lawn.

While Murphy was establishing Esalen, if Soviet state security wanted to place a negative or damaging thought in someone’s head, they called Zoukhar. That’s why Zoukhar was at Korchnoi’s match; communism trumped capitalism if it could produce a world chess champion. Korchnoi, hang-dogged and pot-bellied with his mistress in tow, was not the image they were going for. He could not be allowed to win against Karpov, the poster boy for true Soviet values.

Murphy and Zoukhar hailed from opposite cultures teetering on the brink of nuclear Armageddon. But for all their differences, America and the Soviet Union held a common belief: the existence of superhumans. Both world powers believed in a race of cosmic beings who could, just like in the sci-fi movies, slow down time, speed it up, change their body shape, feel no pain, levitate, see into the future, and more. With boggle-eyed mind control and harnessing the occult, both nations believed they could put a thought in someone’s head, or stop a man’s heart at 100 paces. Both nations thought these powers would win them the war. From the west coast of America to the far corners of the Soviet Union, yogis, shamans and psychics were sought out to aid these alternative war efforts, with millions spent on attempts to create a real life Superman or Wonder Woman.

In 1975, the Chicago Tribune reported that the CIA was attempting to develop a new kind of “spook”, after finding a man who could “see” what was going on anywhere in the world. CIA scientists would show the man a picture of a place, and he would then describe any activity going on there at that time.

In fact, there was more than one of these men. Russell Targ, who had taught this psychic power at Esalen, was one; another was Uri Geller. (You might have heard of him and his bendy spoons.) There was a whole team of psychics based at the Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Menlo Park, California, as part of the CIA’s Stargate programme to find psychic warriors. Targ and Geller would sit in that office, close their eyes, breathe deeply and then after a few minutes draw the location of Soviet missiles. Sometimes, they were right.

By contrast to the Soviet plan, Targ and Geller seemed harmless. “They were using it to kill people,” Targ said. The Russian term for superpowers was “Hidden Human Reserves”.

https://www.theguardian.com/books/2019/apr/18/superhuman-sport-cold-war-mind-power-men-on-magic-carpets-ed-hawkins-extract?fbclid=IwAR3IAsmcuth_VhCadNCMFGmKMcAG56NgEiTPltDNzM00Ikp7zjYP-L5AtIw

Russell Targ

is the brother-in-law of Bobby Fischer.

Mind and Matter with Russell Targ

Russell Targ | CONTACT in the DESERT 2019

Indian Wells May 31 – June 3 2019

Russell Targ

Are We Just “Pawns in the Chess Game?”


A protest against the election of Trump outside the US embassy, London, November 2016

Ben Stansall/AFP/Getty Images

This is taken from the transcript of the Chris Hayes show on MSNBC. The headline:

Sen. Feinstein: This ‘isn’t Nazi Germany’

Every single Senate Democrat has now signed on to a bill introduced by Senator Dianne Feinstein to bar the Trump administration from splitting up families at the border.Jun.18.2018

https://www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/sen-feinstein-this-isn-t-nazi-germany-1258688067865

HAYES: So then tell me this, what is the endgame here from your
perspective? It seems to me that the White House quite explicitly is
essentially using these children as hostages to try to get Democrats to
give in to a variety of demands they have on restricting legal immigration
as part of a legislative package. Is that something you`re willing to
entertain?

FEINSTEIN: Well, I think that`s exactly right. Of course, we`re willing
to entertain a legislative package if it makes sense but don`t hold
children hostage. I mean, you don`t have to take 2,500 children from their
parents to get support for something. I mean, that`s bizarre and it`s hard
for me to believe that even President Trump would want to do that. It`s
just bizarre.

HAYES: Well, he pretty clearly does want to do it, at least as advisors
do. I mean you have John Kelly talking about how it`s a deterrent. You
have Stephen Miller giving on-the-record quotes about how it`s a deterrent.
Jeff Sessions saying the Romans 13 commands us to obey the laws of man in a
godly fashion. I mean, there does seem to be a part of this administration
that knows what they`re doing.

FEINSTEIN: Well, this is the United States of – I mean, United States of
America, isn`t Nazi Germany and there`s a difference. And we don`t take
children from their parents until now. And yes, I think it`s such a sad
day. People are so upset. I just read a wonderful letter to the editor by
Laura Bush. I can`t believe that this is happening in the United States
and the President insists so we, of course, will do everything we can to
pass a bill which would prohibit this.
http://www.msnbc.com/transcripts/all-in/2018-06-18

With all due respect to the Senator from California, if the POTUS walks like a Nazi, talks like a Nazi, acts like a Nazi, and howls like a Nazi, we have become Nazi’s. The RepublicaNazi Trump administration is redolent with the acrid smell of Nazism.

Consider the article, It Can Happen Here, by Cass R. Sunstein in the June 28, 2018 issue of the New York Review of Books,.

They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933–45
by Milton Mayer, with a new afterword by Richard J. Evans
University of Chicago Press, 378 pp., $20.00 (paper)

Broken Lives: How Ordinary Germans Experienced the Twentieth Century
by Konrad H. Jarausch
Princeton University Press, 446 pp., $35.00

‘National Socialist,’ circa 1935; photograph by August Sander from his People of the Twentieth Century. A new collection of his portraits, August Sander: Persecuted/Persecutors, will be published by Steidl this fall.

Liberal democracy has enjoyed much better days. Vladimir Putin has entrenched authoritarian rule and is firmly in charge of a resurgent Russia. In global influence, China may have surpassed the United States, and Chinese president Xi Jinping is now empowered to remain in office indefinitely. In light of recent turns toward authoritarianism in Turkey, Poland, Hungary, and the Philippines, there is widespread talk of a “democratic recession.” In the United States, President Donald Trump may not be sufficiently committed to constitutional principles of democratic government.

In such a time, we might be tempted to try to learn something from earlier turns toward authoritarianism, particularly the triumphant rise of the Nazis in Germany in the 1930s. The problem is that Nazism was so horrifying and so barbaric that for many people in nations where authoritarianism is now achieving a foothold, it is hard to see parallels between Hitler’s regime and their own governments. Many accounts of the Nazi period depict a barely imaginable series of events, a nation gone mad. That makes it easy to take comfort in the thought that it can’t happen again.

But some depictions of Hitler’s rise are more intimate and personal. They focus less on well-known leaders, significant events, state propaganda, murders, and war, and more on the details of individual lives. They help explain how people can not only participate in dreadful things but also stand by quietly and live fairly ordinary days in the midst of them. They offer lessons for people who now live with genuine horrors, and also for those to whom horrors may never come but who live in nations where democratic practices and norms are under severe pressure.

Milton Mayer’s 1955 classic They Thought They Were Free, recently republished with an afterword by the Cambridge historian Richard J. Evans, was one of the first accounts of ordinary life under Nazism. Dotted with humor and written with an improbably light touch, it provides a jarring contrast with Sebastian Haffner’s devastating, unfinished 1939 memoir, Defying Hitler, which gives a moment-by-moment, you-are-there feeling to Hitler’s rise. (The manuscript was discovered by Haffner’s son after the author’s death and published in 2000 in Germany, where it became an immediate sensation.)* A much broader perspective comes from Konrad Jarausch’s Broken Lives, an effort to reconstruct the experience of Germans across the entire twentieth century. What distinguishes the three books is their sense of intimacy. They do not focus on historic figures making transformative decisions. They explore how ordinary people attempted to navigate their lives under terrible conditions.

Haffner’s real name was Raimund Pretzel. (He used a pseudonym so as not to endanger his family while in exile in England.) He was a journalist, not a historian or political theorist, but he interrupts his riveting narrative to tackle a broad question: “What is history, and where does it take place?” He objects that most works of history give “the impression that no more than a few dozen people are involved, who happen to be ‘at the helm of the ship of state’ and whose deeds and decisions form what is called history.” In his view, that’s wrong. What matters are “we anonymous others” who are not just “pawns in the chess game,” because the “most powerful dictators, ministers, and generals are powerless against the simultaneous mass decisions taken individually and almost unconsciously by the population at large.” Haffner insists on the importance of investigating “some very peculiar, very revealing, mental processes and experiences,” involving “the private lives, emotions and thoughts of individual Germans.”

The conclusion of the review:

“If the president of the United States is constantly lying, complaining that the independent press is responsible for fake news, calling for the withdrawal of licenses from television networks, publicly demanding jail sentences for political opponents, undermining the authority of the Department of Justice and the Federal Bureau of Investigation, magnifying social divisions, delegitimizing critics as “crooked” or “failing,” and even refusing, in violation of the law, to protect young children against the risks associated with lead paint—well, it’s not fascism, but the United States has not seen anything like it before.

With our system of checks and balances, full-blown authoritarianism is unlikely to happen here, but it would be foolish to ignore the risks that Trump and his administration pose to established norms and institutions, which help preserve both order and liberty. Those risks will grow if opposition to violations of long-standing norms is limited to Democrats, and if Republicans laugh, applaud, agree with, or make excuses for Trump—if they howl with the wolf.

In their different ways, Mayer, Haffner, and Jarausch show how habituation, confusion, distraction, self-interest, fear, rationalization, and a sense of personal powerlessness make terrible things possible. They call attention to the importance of individual actions of conscience both small and large, by people who never make it into the history books. Nearly two centuries ago, James Madison warned: “Is there no virtue among us? If there be not, we are in a wretched situation. No theoretical checks—no form of government can render us secure.” Haffner offered something like a corollary, which is that the ultimate safeguard against aspiring authoritarians, and wolves of all kinds, lies in individual conscience: in “decisions taken individually and almost unconsciously by the population at large.”

The full review can be found at http://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/06/28/hitlers-rise-it-can-happen-here/